As Way Opens

It has been a wonderful experience to gather with friends each Sunday morning and discuss the history of our Quaker faith, examine significant individuals that have greatly influenced us and review some of our theological differences that have caused splits.  This past Sunday we talked about our testimonies.  While we have no formal creed or doctrinal statement, we have collected six testimonies that represent the values that we hold dear in expressing our faith.  On the surface these testimonies seem like positive statements that we can all support.  But it is misleading to think that our testimonies are clear or easy.  The challenge is to think about what these really mean for our daily lives and how they influence us as we make large and small decisions.    
Our class provided some amazing insight into the deeper meaning of each of these testimonies (SPICES).  I am sharing with all of you some of these free flowing ideas:  
Simplicity - how do I live within my means; does simplicity follow integrity in my life which helps me focus on what’s important; do I give away things that I don’t use; do I get to the heart of what is important; how do I "let it go”; keeping priorities straight; seeking knowledge from cradle to grave; trying not to value valuables; knocking down barriers of noise in my life to be able to hear the still small voice   
Peace - do I seek inner peace; am I working to elect those who further peace; do I work to find the place of common agreement; do I listen to calming breaths; how can we reduce the military budget; how do we not start wars; do I have a sense of balance and calm in life; am I finding the quiet within and with one another; do I cooperate with individuals and communities/countries; do I obey God’s commands; how do I listen to others and understand their viewpoint; am I  gentle, considerate and tactful with others; do I seek out those I differ with and listen to them  
Integrity - how do I keep in touch with my feelings and my true self; do my actions = professed values = actions; how does my inner and outer life match; do I always tell the truth, and do I walk the walk; do I live in honesty; am I being transparent; do I honor my word and follow my moral compass; when I don’t know something do I say I don’t know; how do I live the way the prophets have shown me
Friend to Friend Contents As Way Opens – Beth Henricks       Considering the Query Joys and Concerns Announcements & Reports  “Soup-er Bowl” This Sunday  Lenten Nourishment  Quaker Adult Affirmation  Requiem Choir  Young Friends Youth Fellowship  Poetry Group  Quaker Spirituality  AED Training  Co-op Silent Auction  Family Bowling, Feb. 28  Sacred Journeys  Friends of Nature Kids
For this Sunday: Facing Bench: Dan Lee Children’s Message: Beth Henricks
 Community - do I look out for others and include all; do I try to use words that do no harm; do I care for others as much or more than for myself; do I seek connection, consensus and support; do I seek a fairer distribution of resources; do I find God and my own inner Light through connection with others; do I see that of God in everyone and act on that; healthcare for all  
Equality - do I pursue social justice; do I put myself in others shoes; do I see the Light in all; am I supporting representatives furthering equality; do I live to know, love and serve God; do I recognize that we are all the children of Adam and Eve; do I see others as God’s creation holy and whole; do I support policies that create opportunities for all; am I aware and support actions on systems of inequality and help to make positive change  
Stewardship - do I work to preserve the environment; am I trying to choose purchases from responsible sources; do I manage resources rather than allowing them to manage me; do I act with integrity and honor my responsibilities; do I recycle, reuse, reduce; am I supporting the Meeting and causes I believe in financially; am I honoring the gifts of nature and use resources responsibility  
Friends, there are many big questions here that challenge every part of my life.  I pray that you reflect and contemplate how God is calling YOU to live out these testimonies.      


Considering the Query: How can we make the meeting a community in which each person is accepted and nurtured, and strangers are welcome?  Seek to know one another in the things which are eternal, bear the burden of each other’s failings and pray for one another.  As we enter with tender sympathy into the joys and sorrows of each other’s lives, ready to give help and to receive it, our meeting can be a channel for God’s love and forgiveness.  From: Advices and queries; Britain Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice, 5th edition, @ 1995-2015 Quaker Faith and Practice  

Joys & Concerns  
Bob Hadley would like to send his regards and thanks to the members of First Friends Meeting for all of their thoughtful cards and prayers.  Let us continue to hold Bob, Nancy, and their family in God’s loving Light.  

Helen Davenport has shared the news of the death of her brother, Clement Swisher. He passed away Sunday morning, January 31st.  Clem moved to Washington DC to serve as a Conscientious Objector, and never left.  He was a longtime member of Florida Avenue Meeting of Friends there, and served the meeting in every way possible.  His memorial service will be held there Saturday, Feb. 20.  

Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities  

This Sunday, February 7th we will host “Souper Bowl Sunday” after Meeting for Worship in fellowship hall.  Soup will be prepared for all to enjoy for a free will donation to Second Helpings.  Both Statia Murphy and Vicki Wertz work at Second Helpings and we want to support this important organization for those less fortunate in our city.  Start your Super Bowl Sunday by eating soup at the First Friends “Souper Bowl” party and learn more about Second Helpings. 

Lenten Nourishment: Traditionally Quakers have believed that every day is sacred and a gift from God, so no day should be celebrated as more important than another.  However, many spiritual traditions have designated times to draw closer to God and to their religious communities.  To coincide with Lent, several of us are exploring the idea of Lenten Nourishment; using this time to go into our metaphorical wilderness and draw closer to the Inner Voice of God.  
During the seven weeks of Lent, we will post a weekly blog entry on our First Friends website inviting you to reflect each day on your relationship with yourself and with God.  It may contain scripture, wisdom sayings or suggest ways to renew your spirit.  We will have a few small groups that will meet, or you could create your own small group to share in this journey.  Bill Heitman will interview someone weekly about the spiritual practices that have enriched their lives. We hope that this will provide some inspiration as we travel through the last cold weeks of winter and prepare ourselves for the birth of new life at Easter. Come join us!  And continue to check Friend to Friend each week for events and reminders.   

Quaker Affirmation Sunday School class - please join us for this interactive look at our Quaker faith each Sunday in the parlor at 9:00 a.m.  Here is our schedule of topics:  
February 7th - Theology and what Quakers have believed about the Bible, Jesus, heaven and hell etc. February 14th - We will host a panel of Friends that will discuss their understanding of some of these deep theological topics February 21st - We will examine the different methods of Quaker worship and why we worship in the way that we do February 28th - We will discuss discernment and how we conduct business and make decisions March 6th - We will study other religions and how they might relate to Quakerism March 13th - Daud will bring some young people from his Muslim faith community to talk about the Muslim faith for our understanding March 20th - We hope to have someone come from the Hindu temple to share about their faith March 27th - We will examine Quaker writers, artists and musicians Aprils 3rd - We will discuss what Quakers are doing in the world today April 10th - We will talk specifically about several Quaker organizations   

Calling all Men! TENORS and BASSES are needed to join the Requiem Choir! Rehearsals have begun, and more men are needed to prepare and perform Dan Forrest’s ‘Requiem for the Living’. The piece will be presented on Palm Sunday, March 20th @ 3pm by singers from our Shalom Zone* churches, invited by Allisonville Chancel Choir & Orchestra.  Rehearsals run:   Monday's @ 7pm-9pm on February 1, 8, 15, 22 & March 7, 14 Thursday’s @ 7:30-8:15 on February 11, 18, 25; March 3, 10 Rehearsals with Orchestra on Thursday, March 17 - 7pm-9pm and Saturday, March 19 - 1pm-3pm Rehearsal attendance is encouraged, but not required!  Come as often as possible. *First Friends Meeting, Epworth UMC, Cross & Crown Lutheran, St Pius X, Allisonville Christian Contact Matthew Tippel, Director of Music, at 317-408-4904 or if you’d like to join or have any questions.   

Young Friends Youth Fellowship is meeting next Sunday, February 14th for a special Valentine’s Day meeting. We will meet in the Youth Room at 11:30, after Meeting for Worship, and will enjoy lunch and some treats together. We are continuing our journey of Echo, storytelling of the Bible. Please email Hayley Adams if you can attend, or with any questions.   
Poetry Group will meet on Tuesday. Feb. 16, at 2:00 p.m. in the Parlor.  Ed Alley will be our presenter. Ed is a retired Pastoral Counselor.  Having spent 35 years helping people find new and deeper meaning in their lives, he turned to poetry to continue that process, he sees the deeper meaning one must find in Pastoral Counseling as akin to what poetry seeks.  His poetry is largely along the lines of Poetry as Memoir.  In addition he writes about social issues and some nonsense.  

‘Quaker Spirituality’ is presented by Steve Angell, Professor of Quaker Studies at Earlham School of Religion. Fairfield Friends Meeting will be hosting several Quaker Spirituality talks from the perspective of Margaret Fell, Isaac Pennington, Caroline Stephen, Thomas Kelly and Margery Abbott. Tuesday evenings at 7:00 PM - Fairfield Friends Meeting February 16, 2016—Margaret Fell February 23, 2016—Isaac Pennington March 1, 2016—Caroline Stephen March 8, 2016—Thomas Kelly March 15, 2016—Margery Abbott Free of charge but a one-time donation of $10.00 for ESR is suggested. For further information, contact Sarah Lookabill (   

The Trustees have purchased a defibrillator (AED) for the meeting. You should see it soon near the office and the fire alarm. The staff will be getting training in Basic Life Support which includes use of the AED. Friends who wish to be trained are invited to join this training, February 17th at 5 pm. Cost is $30; certification is good for 2 years. We can accommodate up to 15 people; if you know of someone not associated with First Friends we can add them to a waiting list with members as first priority. If finances keep you from this, the Trustees are open to a "scholarship" or two. Please contact the office to sign up, or talk to a Trustee. Dan Rains, <>, for the Trustees.    

Silent Auction on February 20th - The preschool co-op will be hosting a silent auction and dinner from al-basha on Saturday February 20th at 5:00 p.m. at The Riviera Club 5640 North Illinois Street.  This is their annual fundraiser to support the school and there are many wonderful items to bid on during the evening.  Tickets to the event are $10.  Please let the office know if you are interested in attending and we will make a reservation for you.     

Family Bowling on Sunday February 28th after Meeting for Worship - calling all bowlers to join us for lunch and some bowling fun with your First Friends faith community.  We will provide pizza lunch and pay for bowling - you will only need to pay for rental of shoes.  We will have prizes for the best scores (different age categories).  We invite young and old to join us.  We will meet at Woodland Bowl on 96th and Keystone at noon.  Please let the office ( know if you will join us.    

The Children’s Museum is currently running an exhibit, Sacred Journeys, which is an immersive experience for those interested in traveling the world's most sacred sights through pictures and artifacts from all over the world. Families will be able to observe, discuss, and begin to understand some of the sacred journeys made by people around the world, from personal acts of faith to pilgrimages. Sacred journeys will include the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the Great Mosque in Mecca, the Ganges River in India, Bodh Gaya in India where Buddha is said to have achieved enlightenment, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, and more. The exhibit will run through late February.   

“Friends of Nature Kids” ~ Rock Out ~ Look for things around you that can be used as musical instruments. From just tapping a tree with a stick to rubbing two rocks together, you can make interesting sounds. If you are alone, see how many instruments you can invent from nature. If you’re in a group, you can each make an instrument and play it while singing a song everybody knows.